A couple of weeks ago, Lynda Barry posted about doing a series of twelve images of the same scene. I set out to do just that, not knowing how long it would actually take me or what the result would look like. This week, I finally finished this difficult but gratifying challenge.
The scene was after the ground war had begun in February 1991. The Iraqis had already bugged out of Kuwait, and though we didn’t realize it at the time, the Battleship Missouri had already completed her final fire mission for all time. Something happened, and I never heard exactly what, but the magazine sprinkler system was activated in Turret 2 and everything got doused with salt water. The wiring that came from our computer system in the plotting room to control the guns also got wet, which might not have been a huge deal if not for the fact that this was WWII technology and plastic was not widely in use yet. All of the insulation on the wires were made of a fabric material that soaked the salt water right up. The salt water, being an excellent conductor, shorted everything out. We had to go down to the 7th deck, all the way to the bottom of the ship, and literally crawl into this wiring space with our heat guns to dry everything out. The room was not big enough to stand in. It was dark, cold, and damp. We had to bring our own lighting. The “megger,” a piece of test equipment designed to test the insulation of wires, generated a current of electricity to get the wires to short circuit on purpose. We were making electricity through wet wires, inside of a damp metal crawl space, on purpose!